Smoking started as early as the sixth grade, then it increased with age and grade. This suggests that efforts should concentrate primarily on youngsters before the age of twelve since a considerable number of students started smoking after that age. Behavioral scientists and health educators admit that it is easier to discourage non-smokers from starting than to discourage smokers from continuing.
The highest smoking rates reported were those of the tenth grade. This suggests that techniques and strategies to prevent or quit smoking should be administered immediately to this grade level before addiction to nicotine becomes a factor.
There was no doubt that a lack of knowledge with regard to the dangers of smoking exists. This may be due to the lack of smoking and tobacco education programs in the present school curriculum, and also to minimal public anti-smoking campaigns. This fact reemphasizes the need for smoking education. The prevalence and duration of smoking did not differ significantly between male and female students. This suggests that anti-smoking education should be provided for all students regardless of sex. Parents’ age was found to be a significant factor in determining who smokes and who does not.
A possible explanation could be that a communication gap exists between teenagers and older parents. This suggests that parenting education might be useful in improving parent and child relationships. Parents’ income, education, type and place of work were not related to teenage smoking. A possible explanation could be that public high school students come from similar low to middle-class families and are subject to the same school environment that renders them a homogeneous group.
Parents’ smoking rates as perceived by their teenage children were of great magnitude to justify immediate and intensive adult smoking education programs. Parents can be reached through organized lectures, mass-media anti-smoking messages, and local health clinics and hospitals.